The St. Louis Cardinals traded two outfielders yesterday and in that, a report came out that they were also discussing trades of another player: Dexter Fowler.
Thursday afternoon was a flurry of excitement for St. Louis Cardinals fans. After the news was heating up about the team’s talks with the Rockies about Nolan Arenado, the Cardinals pulled off a surprise trade for the highly-touted pitching prospect, Matthew Liberatore.
The trade was such a tease because, unlike many trades, it took about an hour for any news about the other five pieces involved to come out. In the end, Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena were packing their bags for Tampa Bay and Liberatore and a low-level catcher were coming back while draft picks changed hands.
It was a win-win trade on both sides and the biggest outcome was that the clog of outfielders the Cardinals had was greatly diminished by removing two (lovable) players off the top of the pile. But are these the only two outfielders that are going to be traded?
Even with Martinez and Arozarena being moved, the Cardinals still have six major league outfielders who all need playing time. Hidden in the report of the Liberatore trade that ESPN writer, Jeff Passan, wrote was a note that was intriguing.
"The Cardinals also have discussed trading outfielder Dexter Fowler and still could move him in another deal, sources said, as top prospect Dylan Carlson is expected to play a significant role in St. Louis’ outfield."
This is not me just making up stuff for fun, this is directly out of this article written by Passan last night. I always hate writing anything that could be deemed clickbait, but in this case, it really is interesting that the Cardinals have explored this move.
Fowler will turn 34 during the 2020 season and has two years and $33M left on his contract which is much more than what he’s worth. Add onto it that Fowler has a no-trade clause, and it makes a Fowler trade seem pretty difficult to pull off.
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Some have speculated that Fowler could be a great name to include in a trade for Nolan Arenado given that he played there for his first six seasons in the league. Honestly, I would be fine with that but adding his bad contract to a deal would make the prospect price higher in that deal.
That may be where Liberatore comes in, but we will need to wait and see before saying anything specific.
As Passan notes, Dylan Carlson is just about ready to hit the Majors and with Tyler O’Neill and Lane Thomas fighting for left field, Harrison Bader and Fowler in center and right field may stand in the way of any playing time for Carlson.
I wouldn’t think that the Liberatore trade would keep the Cardinals from wanting to still trade Fowler, but it may help them pull the trade off.
I would guess that the Cardinals’ plan for the rest of the offseason will materialize more in the next few days, but for now, they are likely still shopping Fowler. Fowler’s value isn’t extremely high by any means but after his uptick back to an above-average player in 2019, he is much more valuable than he was after 2018 and it would be smart for the team to try and dump the contract now.
If the Cardinals do end up moving on from Fowler (even in a non-Arenado trade), it will be best for the young kids to get in the lineup. Even if a trade doesn’t happen, the glut being gone will always be a good thing for the longterm health of the organization.